Port continues crane acquisition negotiations
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Port Authority of Guam continues negotiations with Matson and Horizon to acquire additional cranes but funding may be in jeopardy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had committed $14 million to pay for the cranes but concerns have been raised about the stability of the deteriorating wharf. The Port's insurers and financial lending institutions have expressed concerns about the condition and integrity of the wharf.
Port management, the board and government officials have asked the U.S. Maritime Administration to allow the agency to begin repairs to the wharf with some of the $50 million in DOD funding rather than doing a complete overhaul of the wharf that MARAD has suggested. Port officials have gotten no response on their request and intend to move forward with borrowing $15 million to make repairs to the wharf that will extend its life for another decade.
General manager Mary Torres told KUAM News, "What we know is there are maintenance and repair issues that we want to address and we believe are necessary, and so regardless of what the timing is with all the partners involved, we do need to at least at the fundamental point the maintenance repair so that's what we are prepared to do."
Torres confirms that there have been talks of a possible rate increase to pay for the loan but she says the agency first needs to get a handle on what the impact of the tariff adjustments will be and the project the port's immediate and long-term needs.
The Port board meanwhile is set to meet on Thursday.